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Chinese Number



Traditionally in China the lucky numbers are 6 and 8. "6" (liu) is like the word "smooth" if pronounced in Chinese that means people are living a good and prosperous life. The partial tone of "8" (ba) in Chinese is "fa", which means "making a great profit". This principle of numerical usage is still applicable nowadays, some Chinese people are willing to spend tens of thousands RMB Yuan to buy mobile phone or car numbers that mostly containing the digits 6 and 8.




Tabooed numbers are many more than the lucky ones. Generally the odd numbers are worse than the even ones, because the Chinese people think that good things must be doubled and they present gifts to relatives and friends are in twins. However, they don't choose the second day of the calendar month to hold funerals. They feel that funeral is a very sad event and it shouldn't be occurred twice within a short period. If the sad thing happens in the second day of the month, it means it is happened twice within a day.


The digit "3" (san) is pronounced like "disbandment" in Chinese, so people avoid doing things such as birthday parties and weddings on the third day of a calendar month. Anyway, "three" is a taboo in joyful events. "Four" was used in many fields in the past and represented as "fairness" and "balance", but it has been the worst number for the Chinese in recent decades. The digit is pronounced "si" which very akin to "death" in Chinese ! It is a terrible to call things si. Basically car and door numbers are avoided to contain such digit, especially the last digit of the number. Nowadays there are some high-rise buildings in China are without levels which numbers having a digit of 4.






Something likes the "Seven Deadly Sins" in Christian ideas, in the old Yangzhou (in Jiangsu Province), Chinese consider that if the wife has violated the 7 rules (called the Seven-Abandon, which roughly contains bad behavior such as disrespect to parents, sexually promiscuity and gossip), she shall be divorced. So the "7" is the unlucky number for women. The Chinese character "eight" is two bended strokes written downwards in reverse directions to one another, so in Chinese thinking, it means "split" or "divorce". Although "8" is good for almost everything in China, for women whose are married or in love, it is no good to be mentioned. In Guangdong and Hong Kong, "8" is used to describe a meddling old woman.


In the music scene, "9" is quite a terrible digit. Great composers like Beethoven and Mahler died after they finished their ninth symphonies. Also influenced by the Western idea, "13" is an unlucky number in some Chinese minds, although it hasn't become a "norm" yet. Some five-star hotels in China now are without the 13th floor.


In Zhejiang and Jiangsu Provinces, "say" stands for "20". It is said that Ershi, the daughter of a Wu State's emperor in the Warring States Period, is choked to death by a piece of fishbone. "Ershi" is pronounced like "20" in Chinese, so the number is ill-omened. In Hubei, central China, people are afraid of "36", because Zhou Yu, a great militarist flourished in the Three Kingdoms Period died here at the age of 36. It is said that the death of Chinese philosophers Confucius and Mencius are in their ages of 73 and 84 respectively, so the two numbers are bad for the Chinese too.


Although the belief in good and bad numbers is considered as superstitious nowadays, people from various social sectors are keen to follow.


Talking about people's ages, Confucius once said of himself, "At fifteen I set my heart upon learning. At thirty, I stood firm and became a man. At forty, I no longer suffered from perplexities. At fifty, I knew the decrees of Heaven. At sixty, my ear was an obedient organ for the reception of truth. At seventy, I could follow what my heart desired, without transgressing what was right." This saying by the sage became a decent description of a man's age among the Chinese people.


One's year of birth considered in relation to the 12 animal images in Chinese Horoscopes, if a person who is at the age of 12, 24 or 36 so on, which another 12 years cycle begins, he or she must be very careful in doing everything. This is because, from experiences or by superstition, a person may encounter bad luck in that year. The notion is still strongly believed by many Chinese nowadays. They think red is the lucky color. Everything from clothes to lantern is red.


When a person's age reaches 60, it's the most important year in his or her life, because the terrestrial branches - there are 10 Heavenly Stems and 12 Earthly Branches - in the Chinese Horoscope are 60 years per cycle. People are like to be blessed on their 60th birthday.


Despite the Chinese people have experienced many radical reforms and practiced westernize habits, some ancient Chinese customs are coming back into people's daily life nowadays.





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